Meta Prepares for Cutbacks, Avoids Policy Guidance, and Gets Sued

Here's a quick look at the most recent news cycle that Facebook's parent company has been dealing with in this week alone.
Adam Rowe

Meta isn't having a good week.

Granted, Facebook's parent company isn't having a good year, either, just going off of stock prices, and it hasn't started the decade in a great place, either. The world's large social media platform still remains too big to fail, however, even if a few upcoming cutbacks will make it just a little bit smaller.

Here's a quick look at the most recent news cycle that the company has been dealing with in this week alone, from a lawsuit to a guidance request withdrawal.

Metaverse Cutbacks are Coming

The metaverse has met its first big obstacle, with the news that Meta's hardware division, Reality Labs, faces cutbacks. Chief Technology Officer Andrew Bosworth told staffers on Tuesday to expect more news on what the cutbacks will look like by next week, Reuters reports.

A spokesperson clarified that some projects will be postponed while others will be dropped entirely. No layoffs are being planned, according to the spokesperson.

Facebook revealed plans to discontinue its podcasts earlier this month, so it's clear that priorities are shifting.

Ex-Facebook Content Moderator Sues Meta

Daniel Motaung is suing Meta and Meta's third-party contractor, Sama, alleging that job ads failed to warn him of the extreme, traumatizing content he'd have to see.

Motaung says he reviewed content including child abuse and beheadings, all for around $2.20 an hour. Meta declined to comment.

Meta Withdraws Policy Guidance Request

On Wednesday, Meta announced that it is withdrawing an earlier request made to its independent Oversight Board, created to help moderate content related to Russia's war in Ukraine.

In the request, Meta had asked for policy guidance. Now that it's retracting that ask, Meta cites “ongoing safety and security concerns.” The statement doesn't further clarify why this would require a retraction, though some say Meta is worried about threats from Russia, given the country's past threats to Apple and Google employees. It's the first time Meta has issued such a retraction.

Market Value Remains Lackluster

Worse, the company's stock isn't doing great, either: Meta Platforms has lost right around 50% of its market value since the start of 2022.

Why? Competition from TikTok is likely one big reason, as are privacy policies that have reduced the data Facebook accesses. The company's big plans for the metaverse remain many years away, too, assuming they materialize at all.

Facebook Will Stop Tracking Your Location

It's not all bad news, though: Facebook announced earlier this week that they'll soon end their practice of tracking users' locations in the background.

They'll stop tracking locations on May 31st. By August 1st, they will also have deleted users' past location histories as well, dropping the arguably invasive channel of data collection entirely.

It'll be the biggest bulk deletion of data at Facebook since the company shuttered its facial recognition functions in November 2021, according to Fast Company. It's a big win for user privacy, even if many, many third parties are still collecting plenty of other data through the social platform.

Facebook will undoubtedly keep chugging along for years to come, even as the tech industry is now entering a major downturn, but its status as one of the biggest social media platforms won't last forever. Consider this your latest reminder that businesses should spread their social media presence over multiple platforms to stay their healthiest.

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Adam is a writer at Tech.co and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for more than a decade. He's also a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry, for which he was named a Digital Book World 2018 award finalist. His work has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect, and he has an art history book on 1970s sci-fi coming out from Abrams Books in 2022. In the meantime, he's hunting own the latest news on VPNs, POS systems, and the future of tech.

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